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The Final Countdown: NA3HL Weekend Preview

March 11, 2016
It all comes down to this… the final weekend of the 2015-16 NA3HL regular season. While some divisions are set and playoff match-ups are known and scheduled, others will go down to the wire, perhaps to the very last day on Sunday.
It should provide for some great drama. Some unknowns that still remain out there include, who will be the overall NA3HL regular season champion? Who will win the Frontier, South and West Divisions? Who will actually make the playoffs in the Frontier Division? All that and more is set to be decided this weekend.
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In the Central Division, everything is set. Division Champion North Iowa will face Rochester in the first round of the playoffs, while La Crosse will host Wisconsin. While the Bulls are likely to capture the overall title needing just one win in their three home games against Chicago, Rochester will be at Wisconsin.
In the East, the playoff match-ups are also set with Metro hosting Wooster and Toledo hosting West Michigan. This weekend, Pittsburgh will play their final two games of the year by hosting the Wolves. Southern Tier does the same by hosting the Wolves on Friday. The big match-up is Metro and Wooster in a home-and-home series, which will also be a Semi-Final preview of next weekend.
While Yellowstone, Great Falls and Bozeman know they are in, they do not know who is champion yet. That will play out in the Yellowstone vs. Great Falls series this weekend. The other unknown is the great race for the 4th and final spot. Gillette has the inside track with a two-point lead, but face a tough test against playoff-bound Bozeman. Helena has a home-and-home series against Glacier. If both Gillette and Helena finish with the same number of points and wins, Helena owns the tie-breaker in head-to-head between the two teams.
With the four playoff-bound teams decided and St. Louis as the division winner, the only thing to be settled in the Midwest is who will be the #2 and #3 seeds.  Peoria has the inside track and needs just one win or a Nashville loss to secure home ice. Peoria hosts St. Louis, while Nashville has a home-and-home series with Evansville.
In the South, it is sure to be a great battle in Point Mallard as the Ducks host the Capitals in the race for the South crown. The Ducks have a one-point lead over the Capitals. Also in the mix is Texas who finishes with three games against Louisiana. Three wins and a one regulation loss by both Point Mallard and Atlanta this weekend would give the Jr. Brahmas the title. 4th place Sugar Land hosts Euless for three games.
In the West, Friday night has a big match-up as 2nd place Twin City is at 1st place Granite City with just two points separating the teams. With two more wins, Granite City is in the driver’s seat, but the Steel still have an outside shot to capture the division. On Saturday and Sunday, Breezy Point, who needs just a single point or a loss by Alexandria to secure the #3 seed, will try and play spoiler to the Lumberjacks, while the Flying Aces look to do the same. 
Outside the divisions, Cincinnati is at Toledo, while La Crosse is at Alexandria.
FRI, MAR 11  Chicago vs North Iowa          
FRI, MAR 11  Rochester vs Wisconsin         
SAT, MAR 12  Rochester vs Wisconsin         
SAT, MAR 12  Chicago vs North Iowa          
SUN, MAR 13  Chicago vs North Iowa          

FRI, MAR 11  West Michigan vs Southern Tier 
FRI, MAR 11  Metro vs Wooster               
SAT, MAR 12  West Michigan vs Pittsburgh    
SAT, MAR 12  Wooster vs Metro               
SUN, MAR 13  West Michigan vs Pittsburgh    
FRI, MAR 11  Bozeman vs Gillette            
FRI, MAR 11  Glacier vs Helena              
FRI, MAR 11  Yellowstone vs Great Falls     
SAT, MAR 12  Bozeman vs Gillette            
SAT, MAR 12  Helena vs Glacier              
SAT, MAR 12  Yellowstone vs Great Falls     
FRI, MAR 11  Evansville vs Nashville        
SAT, MAR 12  St. Louis vs Peoria            
SAT, MAR 12  Nashville vs Evansville        
SUN, MAR 13  St. Louis vs Peoria            
FRI, MAR 11  Texas vs Louisiana             
FRI, MAR 11  Euless vs Sugar Land           
SAT, MAR 12  Texas vs Louisiana             
SAT, MAR 12  Atlanta vs Point Mallard       
SAT, MAR 12  Euless vs Sugar Land           
SUN, MAR 13  Texas vs Louisiana             
SUN, MAR 13  Euless vs Sugar Land           
SUN, MAR 13  Atlanta vs Point Mallard       
FRI, MAR 11  Breezy Point vs Minnesota      
FRI, MAR 11  Twin City vs Granite City      
SAT, MAR 12  Twin City vs Minnesota         
SAT, MAR 12  Granite City vs Breezy Point   
SUN, MAR 13  Alexandria vs Minnesota        
SUN, MAR 13  Breezy Point vs Granite City  

Out of Division
FRI, MAR 11  Cincinnati vs Toledo           
FRI, MAR 11  La Crosse vs Alexandria        
SAT, MAR 12  Cincinnati vs Toledo           
SAT, MAR 12  La Crosse vs Alexandria        
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